Approximately 8,500 soil samples were collected in the summer and fall of 2001 from various locations in the Sudbury area. These sample sites were chosen to scientifically represent the study area including residential properties, gardens, school yards, playgrounds and beaches. These samples were analyzed for over 20 parameters to provide determine the levels of nickel, copper, cobalt, selenium, lead and arsenic in local soils. These data formed the basis of the Sudbury Soils Study and the risk assessments.
In addition to soils, the SARA Group sampled many other media in the Sudbury area to obtain a detailed site-specific picture of metal levels in the environment. This included measurements of metals in outdoor air, home-grown vegetables, indoor dust, drinking water, blueberries and fish from local lakes. This information was used to calculate the exposure of Sudbury residents and ecological receptors to metals in the environment.
Through further analysis, detailed mathematical modeling and data interpretation. The SARA Group examined the risks that these metals pose to the health of people or the environment.